Escambia School Issues
2:38 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Escambia County Schools Plan For Suspensions And Taxes

Bob Barrett speaks to Escambia County School Superintendent Malcolm Thomas about issues facing the district.

School may be out for the summer but the Escambia County School District has been busy dealing with issues for the coming school year and beyond. Escambia County School Superintendent Malcolm Thomas Says the county is instituting a new policy that allows students who are put on out of school suspension to make up the work they miss and not get an automatic zero.

Superintendent Malcolm Thomas
Credit Escambia County School Board

Thomas says that even though a student sometimes must be separated for a time from their classmates, they should still be responsible for the work they miss. this will enable suspended students to continues towards graduation. Thomas also says the county is trying to keep students in school by using other disciplinary methods such as in school suspension.

In other matters, this November the school district will also be asking voters to renew the half-cent local option sales tax. According to Superintendent Thomas the tax, which currently runs through 2018, has been vital to keep the county's school running and up to date. He says the district has received "zero.  That's zero dollars" for construction and upkeep of school property that did not come from the sales tax.

Thomas says the money will be needed for future school construction as more jobs and people move into the region. He says "I do believe that Navy Federal is going to create the jobs that they promised. And when that occurs, a lot of those people are going to live in the neighborhood near Navy Federal. That's going to require a new school."

And even though the tax extension would not go into effect until the current one expires in 2018, the fact that the extension is coming will help immediately. Superintendent Thomas says the renewal would allow the county to leverage the funds into bonds and move forward with the planned construction of three new schools in the county, with the hope they could be open by the beginning of the 2017 school year.